Some of the biggest historical monuments and tourist attractions in thousands of Italian cities had their lights shut off for half an hour in the evenings as mayors and local authorities call for government relief over soaring energy bills for municipalities.
Landmarks in Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Bologna, Naples, and thousands of other big cities and small towns were not illuminated for up to an hour in the evenings as part of a campaign organized by the association of Italian municipalities, ANCI, to draw the attention of the government to the soaring energy costs.
The gas and power crisis in Europe is raising the energy costs for consumers and industries across the continent, including in Italy. The municipalities are also seeing surging costs for heating of schools and street lighting, so mayors from all parties are calling on the government for help.
According to ANCI, due to the high energy costs, Italian municipalities will have to pay a total of $627 million (550 million euro) more on energy.
The government has moved to support households and businesses, but it hasn’t addressed yet the soaring costs of the municipalities, the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, told RaiNews 24.
Cities will run into difficulties in paying for the municipal energy costs if the government doesn’t support or compensate municipalities, Gualtieri said.
For Rome, the soaring energy costs would weigh with an additional $45-57 million (40-50 million euro) on its spending, the city’s mayor said.
Venice has set aside $4.5 million (4 million euro) for the additional energy costs, but it may not be enough, the mayor of the city, Luigi Brugnaro, said.
Meanwhile, the Italian government is preparing a new support package for households and businesses to the tune of up to $8 billion (7 billion euro) to guarantee “adequate support” for the second quarter of 2022.